The Subansiri Lower dam officially named Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP), is one of India’s largest hydroelectric power projects, with a capacity of 2,000 MW. The project is located on the Subansiri river, the largest tributary of the Brahmaputra river, along the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The project involves a concrete gravity dam and a surface powerhouse with eight units of 250 MW each. The project will supply electricity to Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, and other northeastern states.
NHPC Limited, a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Power, is executing the project. The project was started in 2005 but faced several delays due to protests by local people and environmental activists over its impact on the ecology and livelihoods of the downstream areas.
However, after several rounds of negotiations and consultations with various stakeholders, the project resumed its construction work in 2019 with the support of the state governments of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
On Saturday, Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, who also holds the power portfolio, visited the project site and reviewed its progress. The NHPC officials informed him that the project is expected to be completed by May 2023, and two units of 250 MW each will be commissioned by June 2023. The remaining six units will be commissioned subsequently.
Mein expressed his satisfaction with the project’s progress and said that it would boost the development and economy of both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. He also appreciated the efforts of NHPC and its contractors to overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and maintain quality and safety standards.
The Subansiri Lower dam is expected to be a milestone in India’s hydropower sector and contribute to the country’s renewable energy goals. The project will also provide irrigation benefits to about 2.5 lakh hectares of land in Assam.